The Digital Economy Bill has passed

Editor's picture

So. The Digital Economy Bill -- soon to be the Digital Economy Act -- has passed its third reading.

Numerous campaigning groups opposed this bill -- The Open Rights GroupDon't Disconnect Us38 Degrees. Unfortunately they failed, because politicians don't listen to reasoned argument, and care more about corporate interests than the rights of the British people (there are a few honourable exceptions, for example Tom Watson).

In truth the strategy for waiting for a measure such as the DE Bill to be proposed, and then campaigning against it, was always likely to fail in the long term, because even if the bill had failed, the corporate interests behind it would have resurrected the proposals in a different guise -- for example in the ACTA treaty, or though European legislation. The corporations would only have to succeed once to win, but the digital rights campaigners on the other hand would have to win every time.

I think a different strategy is needed. We need a political party that:

  • will put this issue center stage
  • will get lots of people to vote for it
  • will get its people elected
  • will persuade the other parties that taking away people's internet rights is a massive vote loser
  • will not just prevent laws from being enacted that take away people's internet freedom, but will actively get laws passed that extend freedom
  • and by doing all the above, will beat the corporate interests behind the DE Bill.

Fortunately such a party already exists, the Pirate Party. Everyone who cares about these issues should join it. (If you doubt the truth of this assertion, just ask yourself what would IFPI, the BPI, the RIAA, or the MPAA want you to do? Would they want you to join the Pirate Party, or would they prefer it if you despondently admitted defeat and gave up?)

Together we can and will win. The fight over the DE Bill hasn't ended, it's only just begun.